Butterflies and Habitats

Richmond Birdwing Butterfly 1

Richmond Birdwing Butterfly Caterpillar   Richmond Birdwing Butterfly 2   Richmond Birdwing Butterfly Crysalis

There is a direct relationship between the decline of the local Richmond Birdwing Butterfly and loss of local rainforest habitat. The butterfly is dependent on the rainforest vine – Aristolochia praevenosa. The birdwing caterpillars only food source is this particular vine. With the loss of the ecosystems that supported this vine so has the Birdwing Butterfly become habitat threatened. The other threat is from home gardeners and their use of the similar South American Dutchman’s Pipe Aristolochia elegans. The female butterfly unfortunately mistakes this vine for the native Aristolochia praevenosa. I have been growing several large sections of my fenceline with the Aristolochia praevenosa for a number of years now and it is currently flowering. We have had some of the now rarely seen Birdwing Butterflies and have been fortunate to watch the lifecycle from caterpillar to crysalis to butterfly.

Aristolochia praevenosa Aristolochia praevenosa Flower
Aristolochia praevenosa – Birdwing Vine

 

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